SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

April 22, 2011

Speak up when mouthy mom trash-talks kids at youth games

Q: My kids play on multiple sports teams. Most of the parents are fairly respectful. But in one league, there is a mom who is just brutal. Not only does she trash-talk the opposing team, but if her child is not playing well, she will loudly berate him from the sidelines. The kicker is our children are only 7 years old. I dread seeing her in the stands.

A: Thankfully, many children's sporting leagues now have standards of behavior for both the players and their parents. If this woman is within chatting distance of you, you can try to distract her by engaging in benign conversation. "Which one is yours?" "Any favorite positions yet?" "What school/grade?" You might also try a very pointed story such as, "Last year, there was one parent who was totally out of control. He used to scream at his child and instead of cheering, he would trash-talk the other team. It got so bad that the coaches had to have a word with him to get him to stop" and allow her to make the connection. Finally, if she continues with her bad behavior, speak with a coach or league organizer so that they can address the situation. Bullying, including of one's own child, is simply not acceptable.

Q: In the extended family, where there are three sets of "parents," is it proper for the parents to go to the hospital and await the birth when the excited parents-to-be call to say they are on their way to the hospital? My husband announced to me that as soon as his son called, we would be going to the hospital to await the birth of our first grandchild. I am adamantly opposed because the mother will be too exhausted, and I consider this to be a very intimate and private time between husband, wife and child. Please advise.

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